The Interesting Thing About Google Germany

12 11 2018

Berlin;  Hamburg

The story that Hard Right linked to as a comment.

I saw it earlier today, but didn’t think much about it.

But the more I think about it, the more I think of it.

Not so much for the content of this story.

Here’s the interesting thing about Google Germany:

It believes itself to be way more of a media business than a CSIT-STEM business.  The reason I can tell is that Google Germany overall is based in Hamburg, which is, among other things, a media town.  If it thought itself a CSIT-STEM business, it would have planted itself in a CSIT-STEM town, such as Dresden, Nuremberg or Aachen.

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You’re All Going to Hate Me After This

12 11 2018

Berlin

To commemorate the upcoming centennial of women’s suffrage and women receiving the franchise in Germany, Mama Merkel wants affirmative action for women in the Bundestag.

I’m about to floor you all:

In democratic republics, there would be significantly more women elected officials if women weren’t allowed to vote.

That’s because women have a really keen way of finding flimsy hen house reasons not to like other women in their domestic and personal lives.  In the business and political world, the main impediment to women climbing the ladder are other women exerting either queen bee syndrome or reverse queen bee syndrome.  Those things scale well to electoral politics.

There would be many more reasonable and rational women in elected offices, except what holds them back are enough women voters who won’t vote for them for some catty reason.

 





Here Versus There

12 11 2018

Sassuolo, Italy

Yeah, that’s something I’ve noticed since at first vacationing in and then not long later moving to Germany.

A difference between the official professional sporting and athletics cultures of the United States and Europe.

Here in Europe, there are constant non-stop official public moralist preening campaigns against “racism in sport.”

In the United States?  Not so much.  Sure, we’ve got the occasional dork in Orlando with a fax machine.  But that’s it.

That begs the question:  Why the difference?

I think the answer relates to the concept of necessity.  In the United States, nobody has to instruct white sports fans never to take their own side in a political debate, because they’ve willingly surrendered their racial courage, because the nearby sports team, college or pro, needs to win games.  Meanwhile, and in contrast, here in Europe, professional sports, especially soccer, and the way they’re organized from the ground up, the grass roots up, serve as an easy conduit for the development of populist-nationalist politics.  (Here and here, and also most of the street protesters in Chemnitz several weeks ago are also soccer hooligan types)  Even if the soccer teams themselves have rosters that are half non-white.

Europe’s obsession with “racism in sport,” therefore, is nothing more than an attempt to cut off the ability to use locally organized soccer clubs as a base for organization/recruitment on behalf of populist-nationalist political parties.

Back to this article, there’s this:

When you go to Germany, you see the people go on the street. There are maybe three, four thousand racists walking on the street and have the right to walk on the street and put their arm up and do the Hitler sign.

That’s news to me.  There are all sorts of vigorously enforced laws about displaying public support for, as it is officially termed in German public parlance, “unconstitutional organizations.”  My reading of my German news sources indicates that it’s about a once a week thing that someone’s catching a case for something like that.

Kevin-Prince Boateng has a more famous brother with the same surname, whom I have discussed in this space in the past.





Armistice Centennial

11 11 2018

Compiègne, France

“The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”

Precisely a century ago from the moment I am uploading this post.  I actually wrote it three days ago for upload at this precise time, 11 AM CEST, November 11, 2018, because, by the time it goes live, I’ll be in Compiègne for the centennial observation.  If all goes well, I’ll be back here in France, and namely, Omaha Beach, for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, on June 6.

Onward and upward.

Efforts like these or movements like these aren’t complicated at all to explain, especially in the German context.

The war that ended precisely a century ago was a clusterfuck based on a flaw in the European paradigm of secret treaties as a deterrent to war and a deterrent to future Napoleon wannabes.  That paradigm really kicked into high gear after Napoleon.  The theory behind secret treaty-ism was that it was supposed to prevent national-level invasions — A won’t invade B, because A doesn’t know which other countries B is strapped up with, while B knows which countries B is strapped up with, and knows that A doesn’t know.  For the same reason, A has confidence that B won’t invade them, because A knows which countries A is strapped up with, but B doesn’t know, and A knows that B doesn’t know.  Sort of a Nash Equilibrium applied to big time military geopolitics.

Well, we all know how it went wrong.  In an overall general sense, it made all of Europe suspicious of each other and paranoid about each other, precisely because every country was looking sideways at every other country, even ones with which they were secretly allied, because nobody ever knew of the other countries’ secret side arrangements.  Which is why many forward-looking clairvoyant observant people in the decade leading up to the start of WWI openly stated that Europe was stinking from the stench of the predication to major warfare.  Specifically, because some minor royal in a place that Bismarck himself stated the whole of which wasn’t worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier got assassinated, and that started a domino effect of calling in secret treaty obligations, ending up with Europe being at war with itself, and eventually the United States entering because the American elite of the time basically bet on England, which means they influenced Wilson to goad the Germans into torpedoing an America-to-England boat with both American civilians and illegal munitions.

We know the history of the rest in terms of the German context:  Defeat in the “Great War,” end of the monarchy/-ies, near-breakup of the unitary German nation-state, brief Communist takeovers in Munich and Hamburg, impossible reparations, hyperinflation, depression, Weimarism, Hitler.

Many centuries from now, historians will consider World War I and World War II to be the same war, with a barely more than two-decade intermission.

The people seeking to “rehabilitate the German Empire” in an intellectual historical sense, and the people who form rural marksmanship clubs and pine for the Deutsches Kaiserreich aren’t really trying to rehabilitate the German Empire and really aren’t pining for the Deutsches Kaiserreich.  What’s really going on here from a psychological sense is rather simple:  Absolving Imperial Germany for the blame it never should have gotten for World War I means somewhat absolving Germany for World War II, and, eventually, giving modern day Germans a mulligan on the chance to be an international superpower.

My advice to Germans so dreaming, especially as someone living here as an expat from another superpower and at the same time has a supermajority ethnic constitutional heritage from this country, is this:  Be careful what you wish for.  Empires aren’t so great, even for most citizens or subjects of the imperial country’s proper territory.  Or, you don’t know how good you have it now, and that the grass is actually browner on the other side.





Par for the Pitch

29 10 2018

Wiesbaden

As you all know, and as luck had it, my first rehab appointment with my English speaking American physicians, who practice in Wiesbaden, was the day after the Hessian state elections, of course right here in the state capital.

Like I said, until and if I show physical improvement, and that’s up to fate whether I ever will or nah, there’s nothing physical rehab can do for me, which means doing so is pointless.

Which means that rehab these days simply means cognitive testing, to see which direction if any my cognitive function is going.

During my last tests back in St. Louis before I moved, I got hard copy evidence of what I was internally sensing, that I made some sharp and noticeable improvements.

Likewise, today confirmed my instincts that I haven’t made any improvements since then.

And of course I saw an internist for my other general run of the mill issues, and he topped me off on my scripts.  Which are filled by an American jurisdiction pharmacy here in Wiesbaden and sent to me wherever I am by DHL, it being the German Post Office’s logistics division.  DHL tried to break into the American logistics market some time ago, but UPS and FedEx proved too stiff competition.  Though today, since I was already in Wiesbaden, I just picked them up myself, in contrast, the pharmacy had to DHL them to me in Munich almost a month ago, and in most cases, it will have to DHL them to my Cologne address.

I don’t have a regularly scheduled next rehab appointment, even though I do have one with the internist, the usual six months from now.  At this point, there’s no reason for it.  If I feel some sort of significant change either cognitively or physically, then I’ll call and have an appointment made.  Until such a time, every day is going to be the same par for the soccer pitch that was the previous one.

Before you knock it, remember this:  That which caused me to be in my condition also set in motion a set of circumstances and events which resulted in me being here in Germany today.

 





Don’t Dance

29 10 2018

Berlin

Before you get the notion to start dancing on Ang’s political grave:

Her replacement will be a political carbon copy of her.

Why?

Because a Merkel type is the only sort that is acceptable enough to the nervous string bean everyone-but-the-AfD ROYGBIV Jamaicamahn coalition in the Bundestag.

And nobody but the AfD wants to trigger new Federal elections that happen a day sooner than they absolutely legally must occur.

Late Update: Such as it is, all her “leaving” is going to mean in the way she wants to do it is that she won’t seek to remain CDU party leader after the next normally scheduled Federal election in about three years from now, and she will also not try to win her own Bundestag seat. Which means all that is going to happen in December at the CDU party convention is that the party will pick her successor in waiting, as party head at the very least, and they’re hoping as Chancellor.

Of course, I’ve got other ideas about 2021.





Foot In Another Door

29 10 2018

Wiesbaden

Substantively, Hesse wasn’t that much different from Bavaria.

But since Bavaria had a lot of question marks before the fact, while Hesse had a really narrow range of possibilities, Bavaria disappointed me because the results were close to the low bookend of my wide berth of possibilities, while Hesse floated right down the middle for a strike.

Just as was the case in Bavaria, Union mostly bled out to the AfD, and the SPD mostly bled out to the Greens.

Unlike Bavaria, the governing coalition of the outgoing Hessian legislature, CDU+Greens, will be able to govern again, just barely, if they can hold it together. Because, while the CDU lost seats, the Greens gained seats.  In Bavaria, the CSU was demoted from being the absolute single majority party to being the largest but under a majority, meaning that it must negotiate with other parties.

You can see the 2018 delta 2013 numbers.  In 2013, the AfD didn’t even try in Bavaria, but did in Hesse, but finished under the 5% threshold.  They obviously did much better yesterday, and in passing 5%, they are now in both the Bundestag and every state and city-state legislature, the only other two parties in the country that are like that, are Union and the SPD.

Also by comparison, the 2017 Federal numbers in Hesse were CDU 30.9, SPD 23.5, AfD 11.9, FDP 11.5, Greens 9.7, Left 8.1.  So you can see that the drastic decline of the CDU and the SPD were predicted by the fall they made between 2013 state and 2017 Federal.  The rise of the Greens is more recent, while the AfD improved a bit, unlike in Bavaria, where its 2018 state numbers slightly declined from its 2017 Federal take in Bavaria.

All in all, the upshot in Hesse is the same as in Bavaria:  Feet are in the door, something to build upon.

A few other points:

(1)  I was told yesterday that, at one point in the last two weeks, someone brandished a pistol and pointed it directly in the face of an AfD activist canvassing in one of the larger cities in Hesse not named Frankfurt or Wiesbaden or Darmstadt.

(2)  The Frankfurt media were less excited about Hesse’s election than the Munich media were about Bavaria’s two weeks ago. Which probably speaks to Frankfurt having other things on its mind. FAZ’s big news yesterday before results rolled in was speculating how Fraport might benefit from Erdogan’s proposed massive new airport in Istanbul.

(3)  The absolute size of the Hessian state legislature, or most German state legislatures, or the Bundestag itself, is not absolutely fixed. Its size is allowed to float up or down per election, based on the nuances of the mixed member proportional representation system. The outgoing Hesse state legislature has 110 members, while the incoming one based on yesterday’s elections will have more, 137, because of the new incoming political party that crossed the 5% threshold.

(4)  I also predicted in the preview that the party would overall do better in the state than it did in Bavaria, but get pretty much zilch in Frankfurt, for the same reasons UKIP and Brexit got pretty much zilch in London, meaning it would do far better in outstate Hesse than it did in outstate Bavaria.  I guessed there would be a lot of 20% in rural areas, with some 25% and second place.

How’d that work out?

Kinda yes, kinda no.

Its best district was one called Wetterau II, with 17.5%, finishing in third place there.  In the districts of Fulda I and Fulda II, it finished in second place in both, with 15.9% and 16.9%.  Those two districts were coincidentally the CDU’s best districts, the only two in the state where they surpassed 40%.

On the other hand, it didn’t do as bad in Frankfurt as I thought.  Frankfurt itself has six state legislative districts, nomenclature are Roman numerals, I through VI.  In I, fourth place and 13.3%, which is very close to the statewide average, because I is the least Frankfurt-y part of Frankfurt, has a lot of normal people.  The others were not as good, but, with 8.1% and 5th in II, 7.6% and 6th in III, 8.3% and 4th in IV, 5.5% and 6th in V, and 9.6% and 4th in VI, it’s not as if those are a lot of zeroes.  As you can probably predict, the worst one, V, is the one that covers Frankfurt’s skyscrapers and the heart of its financial and banking centers.

I forgot that Darmstadt is in Hesse.  I don’t know why, but my recollection from the summer voyage was that the Hesse and Baden-Württemberg state line was somewhere between Darmstadt and Frankfurt, when in reality it’s much further south.  The AfD didn’t do well in Darmstadt, predictably, but with 8.5% and 5th, it wasn’t a disaster, either.  Wiesbaden, where I was perched to watch it all go down, and the state capital, I thought the party would do badly there, too.  But, 11% and 12.7% in the city’s two districts, so, all in all, pretty good.

While overall in the rest of the state, the party did better in outstate Hesse than it did in outstate Bavaria two weeks ago, it wasn’t the kind of dramatically and blow-me-away better that I thought it would be.